GP Austria, commenti post gara–03/07/2016
Sebastian Vettel says Austrian GP tyre failure ‘a question mark’
Sebastian Vettel says the explanation for the tyre failure that ended his race in Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix remains "a complete question mark".
The Ferrari driver retired from the lead of the race when his tyre exploded at the start of lap 26 of 71, as he tried to stretch his first stint as far as possible.
Vettel said there were no warning signs in the car that his tyres were in trouble, and he went to the Ferrari pitwall when he returned to the paddock to see if the team had any further idea.
"The tyre exploded out of the blue," he said. "No signs before that, everything was normal.
"Everything was the same as the lap before, no signs of the failure.
"It’s completely a question mark on why the tyre failed."
Vettel does not believe Ferrari was pushing the boundaries by trying to stretch its tyre life.
"It was clear everybody had much more tyre life than expected, so 27 laps is not much on that [super-soft] compound," he said.
"Everybody was trying to go longer on the tyres.
"Kimi [Raikkonen] did more than 20 laps on the ultra-soft, there were other people who did more laps on the super-soft.
"So out of nothing the tyre exploded."
Pirelli explained to Autosport it is trying to analyse the failure, although it has very little to work with given the whole tread was lost in the incident.
It also said initial claims the failure was caused by debris were wide of the mark, as there is no proof yet of the cause.
However, analysis of the super-soft tyres Raikkonen used in his opening stint – pitting on lap 22 – showed high wear, which can make the rubber more susceptible to debris or damage suffered by running over kerbs.
Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said part of its investigation would look into the fact that Vettel was the only driver to suffer a failure.
"We are talking with Pirelli to understand the reason," he said.
"Other teams were running without any problem. This is really strange.
"Seb, without his tyre failure, he was [going to finish] very high on the podium.
"I don’t know where, but very high."
Kimi had good speed but feels 3rd place is “just ok”
Kimi Raikkonen: It was not an easy day but I did my best. Third position is an ok result but I’m a bit disappointed with where we ended up: considering the first part of the race, we expected more here as a team. At the beginning we had good speed to catch up a bit with the Mercedes, but then after my pit stop it was not easy to recover. I lost precious time trying to pass Ricciardo, I got close to him many times, but then I was losing traction trying to get out of turn two. Once I got past him I had a very good speed and I was very happy with the handling. In the last part of the race I think I could have passed Max, but with the yellow flags on track it was not possible. Handling-and-speed-wise today we got the maximum out of the car, but it was not enough because we want to be up there with both cars. Hopefully in Silverstone we’ll have a smoother weekend and a better result.